A YOUNG apprentice from Oxford has struck gold at the UK’s most prestigious skills competition, following months of intensive training.

Tony Yarinakis triumphed in the CNC Milling competition, a computer control competition, at the WorldSkills UK National Finals last month.

The 21-year-old from East Hendred now has the possibility of competing at the ‘International Skills Olympics’ in France in 2024.

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The Team UK squad for the prestigious international tournament will be announced early next year.

Mr Yarinakis had to master ‘computer numerical control’ technology to come out on top against competitors from across the UK at the final in Blackpool.

CNC technology shapes metal and other solid materials to create products used in almost every aspect of modern life, from cars and smart phones to kitchen appliances and prosthetic limbs.

Mr Yarinakis is a mechanic engineering apprentice who works at Science and Technology Facilities Council.

He said: “I was watching the medal ceremony at home and I couldn't believe it when my name was announced. I wanted to take part to put myself up against the best in the UK and see how I fared.

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“I can’t believe I came out top of the pile and I am really excited to now see what opportunities competing in the WorldSkills UK final has opened up.

“It’s amazing to get this reward after investing so much time and effort. I am so grateful to Joel Keen who won the competition in 2019 and has been so supportive and helpful in sharing his knowledge.”

 Designed by industry experts, the competitions help young people grow personally and professionally by developing their technical and employability skills, as well as shining a light on the amazing skilled potential in the UK.

More than 500 students and apprentices took part in finals in over 60 disciplines held at seven venues across the UK earlier this month.

Finalists underwent a seven-month process of regional heats and intensive training before competing in the finals.

They learned of their victory during a special live programme from Channel 4’s Packed Lunch studios, presented by Steph McGovern.

Deputy CEO of WorldSkills UK, Ben Blackledge, said: “What a performance. Being crowned best in the UK is no mean feat, especially with all the disruptions and difficulties competitors have had to overcome in recent years.

“Everyone who put themselves forward for the WorldSkills UK competitions this year is a real inspiration and should be proud of their efforts.

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“Skills are the lifeblood of every economy, creating high quality jobs, rewarding careers, inward investment and growth.”


Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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